Julien David called his Spring show "The Tribe of the Seven Seas." Backstage he rattled them all off: the Adriatic, the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Black Sea, the Caspian, the Persian Gulf, and the Arabian. Each one inspired a group of clothes. "I tried to make a collection with stuff from different places," David said, explaining that he got the idea from castings, when models descend from all points on the globe for his show. But this was no ethnography lesson. The world is flat—cute is cute wherever you go.

Water was David's loose theme, but mostly the seas motif was a way for him to explore the special fabrics he loves. There was quite a range on the runway tonight: holographic polyurethane that had the rubbery consistency of seaweed, an open-weave nylon with dots meant to represent tiny pearls of caviar, iridescent cotton jacquard that looked like dappled moonlight. David whipped it all into what the kids are wearing today: oversize hoodies, varsity jackets elongated into dresses, paper-bag-waist shorts. Those paper-bag waists kept the mood particularly youthful. Playful palm trees and giant corals (he called them "cosmic sea fruits") stayed on message.

If it were up to us, we'd have tossed overboard the tulle net David used as a layering piece on V-neck dresses. Too fussy for the streetwear vibe of the rest. But not those life-preserver intarsia sweaters—those are keepers.